Parents Granted Use of Deceased Son’s Sperm to Carry on His Legacy

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Parents Granted Use of Deceased Son’s Sperm to Carry on His Legacy

Recently, we shared the story of a challenge that arose out of a tragedy. When 21-year old West Point cadet Peter Zhu died unexpectedly in a skiing accident last winter, his parents sought the legal right to extract and preserve his sperm, claiming it was their son’s wish to father children and that they wanted to be able to carry on the family name and legacy after Peter’s death. Given the time sensitivity, a judge ruled that the parents could harvest Peter’s sperm and freeze it, pending the court’s determination about whether and how that sperm could be used.

A Federal judge ruled recently that Zhu’s parents can use their son’s sperm to conceive a child with a surrogate mother. In their request to the court in March, the Zhus documented that their son had previously expressed his desire to father five children. They pleaded with the court to help them realize Peter’s dream, also offering testimony from Peter’s military advisor at West Point.

The Zhus also stated in their court filing that being able to carry on Peter’s line was a matter of cultural importance to them, citing China’s one-child policy as the reason there were no other living males able to carry on the family heritage. Without a favorable court ruling, they claimed the family lineage would be extinguished.

The judge in the case noted that the question of posthumous reproduction is not one that frequently comes before the courts but that there were no legal restrictions that would bar the Zhus from becoming grandparents via surrogacy. Previous court rulings in cases involving the posthumous use of sperm were split.

At The Surrogacy Law Center, we help intended parents with the legal help designed to protect their rights – and the rights of their future children. To learn more, contact us today!